The Management of the Tincan Island Container Terminal Limited (TICT) has accused the Tin-Can Island Port Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) of allegedly being partly responsible for the alleged looming congestion at the terminal, which is located within the Tin-Can Island Port Complex (TCIPC), Apapa, Lagos.
Terminal Manager of TICT, Mr. Richard Akinbosotu ,who stated this last Thursday when the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barrister Hassan Bello, visited the TICT facility on an inspection tour, disclosed that over 1000 seized consignments have allegedly been abandoned at the terminal for over a year by the Area Command.
Akinbosotu claimed that, even when the TICT management requested that the consignments be transferred to the offdock facility at Ikorodu, Lagos, in order to free the terminal of the seized consignments, the Customs management allegedly turned down the request.
“The problems we are having in the terminal are abandoned consignment seized by Customs, court litigation and others. As I am talking to you now, we have more than 1,000 TEU (20-foot equivalent unit) containers under this system for more than a year. We even requested that we move this container to Ikorodu but customs say no that once they are seizure and have court litigation all containers must remain in the terminal and this is also part of the problem we are facing here,” he said.
Meanwhile, the NSC boss expressed dismay that cargo examination does not commence at the terminal until 12:00pm, even while Customs agents are on ground.
The TICT Terminal Manager had earlier denied allegations that the management does not position containers on time for examination.
He said that it is not the fault of the terminal management that examination does not kick-start till 12:00pm, but the fault of the agents and Customs that, according to him, fail to appear on time.
“The agents are aware that their containers will be positioned today (last Thursday). Customs too are aware. We give them 24 hours notice, but they prefer to come at the same time, and, within there, four hours, they will finish examination, then we remove and replace another one,” he said.
Responding on behalf of the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Comptroller Zakari Jibrin, Deputy Comptroller in charge of the TICT Terminal, Usman Buhari, denied the accusation, saying that officers are always on ground as early as 8;00am.
“We are handicapped; we cannot do anything without container being positioned by the terminal operators. Once the containers are positioned, we are ready for examination. We are here to facilitate trade. We start examination early, in as much as containers are positioned and the agents are around,” he said.